So you dropped a couple hundred on a rare vintage dress, only to spill ketchup on it while eating out. This scenario is surprisingly common and often leaves women and men distraught and panicking. Vintage clothing cannot simply be treated the same way that typical clothes are treated. To throw something in the wash is like throwing your cash down the drain with the dirty water. Caring for designer vintage the proper way will protect your investment.

Tip One: Read The Label

Designer vintage clothes should always have a label. This doesn’t matter if the piece is off-brand, but if it is a designer then the label is a must. If it says spot clean only, start from there. It might be a good idea to avoid machine washing any piece that is delicate or thin. Never use bleach.

Avoid using any harsh detergents on the garments as well.

Tip Two: Removing Stains

Rare and valuable designer clothes should not use any of these methods, but for typical designer garments, you can safely use these to clean up any blemishes or accidents.

Bloodstains can be fixed with traditional white toothpaste. Make sure it is plain and contains no colorants. Rub gently where the bloodstain is, and then rinse away the stain. This is perfect for that moment where you thought you ruined your vintage Hermés silk scarf by getting a nosebleed at a sample sale!

Makeup stains can be removed easily by gently rubbing a slice of white bread over the lipstick stain. You don’t want to rush to the dry cleaner every time you have a stain, so this fix is simple and cheap. Plus, it works for all of those delicate garments.

Four Top Tips - Caring For Designer Vintage Clothes

Tip Three: Fixing Designer Vintage Smells

You can’t just throw a pristine YSL dress in the washer and expect it to come out ok. It requires a more subtle approach using specific ingredients.

Vinegar is a surprisingly effective way to clean the smell of vintage out of your “new” prized possession. Or if you want to sell something for a higher value, you can use it then too.

Vinegar is a surprisingly effective way to clean the smell of vintage

Using boiling hot water, fill a basin or tub about halfway. Use one cup of distilled vinegar. You can increase the amount of vinegar used based on how smelly the garment is. Do not immerse the piece in the water, but let it hang very close to the top of the water level. This will allow the bacteria-fighting properties of vinegar to penetrate and remove odor. You won’t ruin delicate pieces by water immersion, but you effectively remove the odor!

Four Top Tips - Caring For Designer Vintage Clothes

Tip Four: When To Dry Clean

Sequined and decorated vintage clothing should always be dry cleaned. It isn’t recommended to even think about treating very delicate and rare pieces on your own.

When in doubt, rare and valuable bags and clothes should be taken to a professional. Ruining something like this is a permanent accident, especially if it is only one of a few in the world.

The dress below is a good example of a piece that would definitely require dry cleaning.

Four Top Tips - Caring For Designer Vintage Clothes